The former K-1 World Grand Prix Champion had landed a vicious knee to the body early in the first round. The strike stopped Browne in his tracks and he proceeded to lay into him with repeated punches.
Browne briefly seemed helpless under "The Reem's" incredible blitz of strikes, but he was doing just enough to keep referee Mario Yamasaki from stopping the fight.
And then it happened.
Overeem's pace slowed down and "Hapa" landed one of the most impressive strikes in UFC Heavyweight history, catching the former Strikeforce champion with a front kick to the face and scoring a dramatic come-from-behind first round stoppage en route to taking home a "Knockout of the Night" bonus.
Browne spoke to MMAmania.com earlier today about the fallout from the incredible KO, when he realized he had Overeem right where he wanted him and why coming home to his kids was a bigger prize than any post-fight bonus in this exclusive interview.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Immediately following the fight you had this passionate speech about the city of Boston and everything. Was that spur of the moment or were you planning something special in case you won?
Travis Browne: Well, yeah we were actually talking about it at breakfast, like, "Where did all that come from?" But it sounded good, so yeah. I really do feel for people who have to go through tragedies like that especially when it involved kids. I have two of my own kids and being in Boston and thinking about the people who were affected, one kid died and his sister lost a leg and all that kind of stuff. It's pretty intense. I was thinking about it during the week and it just kind of came out after the fight.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I've spoken with several fighters and it just seems like every little thing you've done over the last few months builds up to that moment and it culminates in this huge emotional dump immediately after the fight's over.
Travis Browne: Yeah, yeah definitely. That happens a lot. As much as this is a physical sport, it's mental and emotional. A lot of that will come out.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I know you're a guy that makes a lot of sacrifices when you're training at Jackson's. You don't get to be with your family because they're in California while you're in New Mexico. How nice have these last few days been getting a chance to be a dad again with the kids, relax and just have some fun?
Travis Browne: Yeah, definitely, that's the other prize. It's what I love to come home to after a win. As much as you want to put on a show and all that, it's my biggest prize coming home to my kids and having them yell "daddy!" and running into my arms when I walk in the door. All that kind of stuff.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Going back to the fight, you brought up how much it hurt when Overeem was nailing you with the knees and punches to the body during the fight. How were you feeling the day afterwards and even today? Most of the time the aches and pains don't catch up with you until the day after due to the huge adrenaline rush on fight night.
Travis Browne: Yeah, actually my stomach wasn't that sore. He didn't hit me in the ribs or anything like that. He just caught me right in the solar plexus and it froze my diaphragm and everything. I just couldn't breathe and it paralyzed me. All the other stuff, I had a couple bruises on my head and stuff like that. I'm pretty much all cleared up. All I have to do is get my shin cleared so I don't have any bone chips or anything like that from hitting his elbows with my kicks.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): It seems like what happened to you would be even scarier than getting nearly knocked out with punches to the head because when that happens, you're a bit woozy, but when you get hit with a shot to the body and you shut down briefly, you're still processing everything that's happening and you can't quite physically react to it. That sounds terrifying.
Travis Browne: Yeah, definitely. Like you said, you know what's going on and you can't do anything about it so it's worse than just getting knocked out and going to a comfortable place before waking up in the cage.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Some people were comparing your fight to a shorter version of Shane Carwin vs Brock Lesnar with one guy getting clipped early, the other pouring it on trying to finish and not being able to do it before the opponent making a huge comeback. Do you see that comparison?
Travis Browne: I think so. I think there's a difference though. There's still definitely a difference. He caught me in the stomach and it kind of knocked my wind out and that sort of stuff, but what Shane Carwin did was completely dominate like in every aspect of the round and he came out in the next round after the bell had already rang and was dead. So I think there's a little bit of a difference. I wasn't falling around the cage like Brock was. I held my own.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You brought up that you could feel there was a little bit less on Overeem's punches when he kept trying to pour it on to get the finish. Can you go back to a specific moment where you realized, "He's got nothing left, I've got him!"?
Travis Browne: I think when I started throwing that combo with the overhand left hook and uppercut to back him off, when he grabbed me, at that point it felt different. It felt like he grabbed me because he was scared of what I was gonna do. It wasn't like he was going to grab me because he was going to do something with me if that makes sense. He didn't grab me to take me down or to throw more knees. He grabbed me to stop me from what I was doing at the time. At that point, I knew that I had him on the ropes and now it was my turn to come back and put the pressure on him. I started throwing a few things, kept him guessing and then got the knockout.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Something that stood out was the gameplanning. People have been fighting Overeem for four or five years now and not many people have noticed that defensive weakness in his stand-up. Even Badr Hari in K-1, he more took advantage of an opening when Overeem threw a big hook and landed a counter. But you guys found that opening in his defense up the middle. What does that say about your coaches' ability to break down a top striker and find something for you to exploit?
Travis Browne: Oh definitely, we have some of the best coaches in the game at Jackson's. There's never a doubt about what we're going to do. I've hit that kick on people's midsections for the last year now and I've seen all different kinds of reactions. I've seen people hit the ground, I've seen people grunt and try to move forward but they don't have what it takes, I've seen people get hit and take a couple steps back. So I know what affect that kick can have, I'm familiar with it. When I hit him with the first one and he took a step back, then I hit him with the same kick to the face and he took three steps back, I was like, "Oh, I've got him. Those hurt!"
I kept exploiting those and I hit him with that, hit him with the round kick to the head and I was throwing it to the gut and throwing it up high. I kept him guessing the entire time. It was almost like sniping him. I hit him in the solar plexus, but then I hit him in the chin with the exact same kick then I'm gonna roundhouse you to either side. The entire time he was probably wondering, "Am I gonna get hit in the gut? Am I gonna get hit straight in the face or am I gonna get hit in the side of the head?" It was a good one.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Your athleticism made all the difference. Do you think your ability to hit these big kicks and move around so quickly is what's setting you apart in the UFC heavyweight division?
Travis Browne: Yeah, I think people are really starting to see the athletic side of the sport and where it can take you. All of our champions are tremendous athletes. Just look at Benson Henderson, Jon Jones, Georges St. Pierre, even Cain. That's what this sport is coming down to and I feel my athleticism is a huge advantage here.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Going back a few fights, do you almost feel like the final result of this Overeem fight makes up for the Bigfoot loss, like it was how you were hoping the Silva fight would have ended had you not injured your leg in the first round?
Travis Browne: Yeah, I expect that every fight. I have the skill and the power and the capability of really hurting anybody. That's what we expect. Anything less and people will be disappointed.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I know you're enjoying the family time right now, but how quickly are you hoping to get back out there assuming you get the "all clear" with your shin and everything?
Travis Browne: As soon as the doctor clears me and all that stuff, I'll take a little vacation with the kiddos and then get right back to it. I'm not a guy that likes to sit around for a long time in between fights. I like to stay busy and get back out there.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Everyone's already out there playing fantasy matchmaker bringing up fights against Fabricio Werdum, Stipe Miocic, even a title shot. Are those the type of fights you'd like or is there anything else you're looking for right now?
Travis Browne: I'm constantly looking to just move forward. I have some momentum behind me so I want to keep moving up in the ranks and fight good guys. Whatever gets me closer to that title, that's my ultimate goal.
Travis would like to thank all his sponsors Safe Auto, MusclePharm, Triumph United, American Ethanol, the team at Jackson's in Albuquerque, his management VFD Marketing and everyone else in San Diego. You can follow him on Twitter @TravisBrowneMMA.